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Golfing is getting pretty expensive these days


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Generally play daily rate golf courses in the Boston area and am finding that a lot of the courses are increasing their greens fees by quite a bit, over the past few years and this year especially.  One course raised their rates by $10 and made is mandatory that you drive a cart too which makes it ridiculously expensive.  I typically walk, both for the experience and the exercise, and cannot stand when courses make using a cart mandatory.  But the really annoying part is the increased fees - some are over $70 now.  For someone who plays every weekend, or more, I can deal with $50-65 per round but it's starting to get a little silly.  One course I typically play raised their rates and made it cart mandatory with the reasoning that they had to pave their cart paths (so the course is 'much better' - nothing else done though) - won't be playing there much I guess.  Not crying poor mouth but for non-resort courses, or private ones, a daily fee course shouldn't be that much in my opinion.

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My semi-private club north of Dallas feels they have maxed out and that it’s taking a toll on conditions.  So they are raising the daily fee prices like crazy.  And using congestion pricing.   I’m talking weekdays that last year were $65-70 are now sometimes DOUBLE that.  They are raising the annual memberships but nowhere as much as the daily fee.  They think they will reduce rounds played by almost 20% yet make more money.

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, klebs01 said:

Inflation. Not sure why you wouldn’t expect it to impact golf as well. 

Exactly.  Here locally, green fees for non municipal courses range from $70-100 on the weekend, with most around $80.  20 years ago it was closer to $45-60 on the weekend for those same courses.

 

General cost of goods has gone up at least by the same rate if not more especially in sectors that are around leisure and entertainment.  

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32 minutes ago, jimb6golf said:

Generally play daily rate golf courses in the Boston area and am finding that a lot of the courses are increasing their greens fees by quite a bit, over the past few years and this year especially.  One course raised their rates by $10 and made is mandatory that you drive a cart too which makes it ridiculously expensive.  I typically walk, both for the experience and the exercise, and cannot stand when courses make using a cart mandatory.  But the really annoying part is the increased fees - some are over $70 now.  For someone who plays every weekend, or more, I can deal with $50-65 per round but it's starting to get a little silly.  One course I typically play raised their rates and made it cart mandatory with the reasoning that they had to pave their cart paths (so the course is 'much better' - nothing else done though) - won't be playing there much I guess.  Not crying poor mouth but for non-resort courses, or private ones, a daily fee course shouldn't be that much in my opinion.

 

 

Agreed.  NYC area is no different.  Rates have risen multiple times over the last few years.  It seems like golf is an industry that loves to screw people when it's popular and then cries poverty and hardship when the crowds stop coming.  

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The local private club used to offer free green frees to resident Seniors on Mondays.

They got smart and changed the deal to residents, offering tee times on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as weekend afternoon hours!

$27 for 9 and$49 for 18 holes, which is in line with local rates.  Given the relatively small town population, I have to look into playing there!

 

I've been learning to play on a 9 hole executive course that only charges $14 for nine holes during the week..

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Everything is more expensive these days around the globe no matter what it is sadly. 

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Same here. Middle TN and my local course went from $36 to $52 and literally can’t get a tee time on the weekend without booking a week ahead. Although when I drive by it it’s seldom full. I wish they’d go to some deal of taking card numbers and charging some type of cancellation fee. As it stands guys just call and book a foursome so they have the option then if they can’t make it they aren’t out anything or if only 2 or 3 show up they go out that way. It’s aggravating and I’m sure doesn’t help with what the course is charging. 

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1 hour ago, ChaosTheory said:

My semi-private club north of Dallas feels they have maxed out and that it’s taking a toll on conditions.  So they are raising the daily fee prices like crazy.  And using congestion pricing.   I’m talking weekdays that last year were $65-70 are now sometimes DOUBLE that.  They are raising the annual memberships but nowhere as much as the daily fee.  They think they will reduce rounds played by almost 20% yet make more money.

 

 

 

 

They don't think it, they KNOW It. 

 

It's actually very smart on their part if the go about it reasonably.   A simple example,  I used to be Revenue Manager and General Manager at a major hotel.   It was muc better for us profit wise to sell   70 room sat $100 a night than it was to sell 100 rooms at $70 a night.  Cut our housekeeping and breakfast cost by 30% right off the top., plus all the other savings, laundry, labor etc. 

 

It's the same at a golf course, why wouldn't they rather have  100 players a day at $100 than 150 players at say $67.   Still comes out to the same amount of revenue on the day.   But far less operating costs. 

 

Hotels, golf courses, airlines and even restaurants all have such sophisticated systems they can tell exactly how much business they are turning away when they are full, so they know the demand is there. 

 

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1 minute ago, Pepperturbo said:

The OP should see the rates here in California, places in AZ and Maui.  Most courses don't allow walking during prime time, so CART fee is an added factor. 

 

My average green fee is over $100, + cart, to as much as $175, and often pay for two = $225+, we play many times per month too.  Maybe part of lower golf viewership is really driven by the gradually higher cost of golf.

you can play just as much for half that cost

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55 minutes ago, Turfguy said:

Having worked in the golf industry as a Superintendent for over 20 years, I can certainly attest to the expense of maintaining facilities increasing drastically. Many Fertilizers and chemicals alike are petroleum based and we all know what has happened to petroleum prices. I hate to see golf get a bad rep for trying to keep up, but I have been out of the industry for a couple of years now and it sure is frustrating to see prices going up and course conditions not improving. There is an art to maintaining a course on a tight budget, but an artist still has to have supplies.  We all go to the pump and the grocery store and feel the squeeze, among other places.  Golf was once a game for the elite, are we headed there again???

Yup.  A lot of these threads about prices increasing in the golf industry tend to associate fee increases with companies or golf courses "making more money" when in reality the majority of price increases are to offset increases in cost to deliver a product or maintain a course.

 

It may seem insane that a driver costs $600 now, but the salaries/wages of the guys developing, testing, marketing, and selling these same clubs are not the same as they were 20 years ago.  The cost of a TV advertisement or to sponsor a tour pro has also gone up over the years.

 

All that said...the demand is still there.  There are still plenty of people willing to pay to play golf and occasionally buy new equipment despite the increase in cost.  And as much as I don't like to see prices increase, the reality of living in a capitalistic society is that I too can benefit from increased compensation for my work so long as I'm producing something that has value/demand for it.

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I should clarify that the one course I mentioned that jacked up their pricing did so while also pushing out groups every 8 minutes.  They jam the course up and it results in 5 1/2 hour rounds on the weekend.  Charging more and providing enjoyable, resort style rounds is one thing, but they are raising prices AND cramming people on the course. Inflation is certainly one reason greens fees are getting higher, but it's more likely greed taking advantage of more golfers in this particular case.  Sorry but that's not fun and I'd rather go elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, koiuh11 said:

you can play just as much for half that cost

You may be able to, but I haven't seen quality courses going for half what I quoted.  Show me where?  I play mostly during prime time.  Even Goose Creek is over $100 now.

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@Turfguy points out petroleum based products are higher, they are evil in the USA at the moment, prices will only go higher, not to mention the cost of labor and equipment. One thing I find annoying is courses that provide advanced access to tee times for $$ fee. One course that my foursome  plays charges $1,800.00 for tee time access, that is it nothing more, you pay the money you can book a tee time 14 days in advance of the public which is normally 7 days in advance. I called in February (snow season) to check it out, club pro called me back, sorry sold out for the season? We are just now golfing.

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In my area prices aren't up because of demand as the resurgence of golf during the pandemic has died down but rather because of greenskeeping costs.  I know one guy that runs a course told me that the cost of fertilizer alone has increased dramatically.

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4 hours ago, koiuh11 said:

you can play just as much for half that cost

Not here in Phoenix in the winter you won’t. Blah courses are over $100 here.  Makes those playing public miserable thanks to the visitors.

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Actually, in my area golf course prices have gone up, but actually less than the rate of inflation. I have six great county courses, and if you're a resident you can get a county card for around $50 for the year, and weekend rates (using the card) drop from $84 to $56 (at the most expensive one). Plus there's several other public course all within about an hour of my house, and they range (at most - during peak times) between around $75 and $100. And a lot of them have M - Th afternoon rates that get down to the $20 - $25 range.

 

Thing is, however, that these rates, and have only gone up by all of $5 - $10 compared to the pre-Covid-inflation rates. Not sure why that is - maybe because there is so much competition amongst courses? Sounds like other people commenting here in other places are getting hit much harder than I am. 

 

And it isn't like I wasn't hit badly by inflation in every other area of life. Still get sticker shock when I go to the grocery store. 

 

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4 hours ago, Pepperturbo said:

You may be able to, but I haven't seen quality courses going for half what I quoted.  Show me where?  I play mostly during prime time.  Even Goose Creek is over $100 now.

 

Goose is a nice track but definitely not worth $100<, I live in the LA area and see so many OC golfers come out here and play to avoid paying $150-$200 green fees....on the weekdays 

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Interesting articles in UK golf media. High class courses admit they are hiking prices, and limiting tee times. Want to retain a similar revenue but reduce visitors and free up member time. A good deal for members but green fees are getting close to extortion. I can play a full year's golf at my home course for the same as two rounds on a top 10 course in the UK. 

I am seeing a move to more corporate days and clubs targeting the "course tickers (players who tick off all the best courses but don't know if it is a good or average venue). The true enthusiast, or the family man / woman who has a mortgage and a defined max for green fees is no longer welcome. 

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There is obviously more demand.  When my father was a store manager he could play every week because he was often training two assistants who would soon go on to manage their own stores!

There weren't as many retirees fifty years ago!  Now there are a record number of people retiring in 2024! 

This is a problem for golf because some of these new retirees haven't learned the skills required to play 4 hour rounds.  I started learning to play two years before I retired, but many can't do that effectively.

 

The job market is much more favorable to those who want to play golf these days.

Employers would rather hire part timers to avoid paying Health Insurance.

More jobs like nurses who travel to customers and have plenty of time to squeeze in round of golf.

Jobs that are partially work from home.

 

Population growth.  There hasn't been any population growth to speak of in Connecticut, keeping green fees low.

Some of the regulars no longer played at the beginner/senior course I played last year.  Retirees often move away from states with four season weather.

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